Please Get David Barton a Real History Book

How did we miss this gem?

Buried on page 62 of phony history “expert” David Barton’s 87-page review of the social studies draft curriculum standards is a short section calling for the following revision to the eighth-grade American History requirements:

(C) analyze reasons for and the impact of selected examples of civil disobedience in U.S. history such as the Boston Tea Party, Shay’s Rebellion, Henry David Thoreau’s refusal to pay a tax, the Underground Railroad, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and Rosa Parks at the lunch counter. (Emphasis added.)

Ah, yes. Every child should hear the archetypal story of American civil disobedience — an exhausted Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat and move the back of the bus lunch counter.


This would be funny if members of the Texas State Board of Education weren’t so “impressed with David Barton’s command of history,” to quote Don McLeroy from last month’s board hearing.

It was a bus, David. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus. And her action sparked the Montgomery bus boycott.

That’s probably the sort of error that would be corrected if one were writing for a peer-reviewed journal, but of course, Barton wouldn’t know anything about that. Why subject yourself to the hassle when you can self-publish books and videos and pretend to be an “expert”?

And for the record, this wasn’t just a slip of the tongue. Barton actually makes this mistake TWICE on the same page of his review:

Numerous examples show that civil disobedience has played a prominent role in initiating numerous changes throughout American history, including thorough the Boston Tea Party, Shay’s Rebellion, the Underground Railroad, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Rosa Parks at the lunch counter, etc. (Emphasis added.)

(Thanks to the eagle-eyed Dena Sher at Americans United for Separation of Church and State for spotting this Barton-ism.)

31 thoughts on “Please Get David Barton a Real History Book

  1. I have to hand it to AU and TFN. That’s a thing of beauty—a shining city on a hill—prima facia evidence of everything AU and TFN have ever said about David Barton and his historical expert tease. Smell the aroma wafting across the plain of fruits. Ah-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Excuse me. I meant “prima facie.” I may not be a lawyer, but I can at least detect and correct my own errors.

  3. What a bumbling, idiotic fool Barton is. This is a pure gem.

    Nothing anyone could say explains Barton’s lack of expertise and qualifications better than his own words :”Rosa Parks at the lunch counter”. And then he considers the Montgomery Bus Boycott a separate incident from Rosa Parks! What a baffoon.

    It is priceless.

    Thank you David Barton. You have demonstrated your, and the far rights, level of incompetance, and completely embarrased yourself and the far right wingnuts that support you.

    We appreciate your help in countering the far right ideologs on the SBOE.

  4. Sorry, but there isn’t anywhere else to mention this, but after reading the article on Church/school partnerships, I am hopeful that those type of resources can be used without bumping up against the wall. From the few examples given, I don’t see any problems with how things are going. Vigilance against untoward proselytizing is still encouraged.

    Don’t tell my nonbelieving peers; I’ll be drummed out of the union.

  5. I would add that civil disobedience is the active refusal to obey certain laws, demands and commands of a government. A boycott is NOT an act of civil disobedience (while refusing to go to the back of the bus was).

  6. time and again when i hear/read nonsense like david barton’s i find myself saying (as i’m sure many others do): “jeez louise, wouldn’t molly ivins have a field day with this.” sigh.

  7. Don’t forget about Henry B.. Gonzales leading the farm workers, or Senator Mickey Leland’s elequent testimorny during the
    Watergate hearings.

  8. Not meaning to nit pick, but Rosa Parks did not refuse to go to the back of the bus. She was ALREADY sitting in the segregated section at the back of the bus. She refused to give up her seat to a white man, when the front section filled, as Jim Crow law required.

  9. Today on NPR I learned of sailors who, in January 1774 (one month after the infamous Boston Tea Party) burned down a brand new hospital to protest the outrageously high cost of health care. The new hospital in Marblehead, MA, which was empty at the time of this event(!), was burned to the ground by 20 sailors who lacked enough money to pay for their smallpox innoculation. The cost of the innoculation was 5 pounds, 15 shillings – greater than the sailor’s annual salary.

    I find the timing of this protest so soon after the tea party against these modern tea parties organized to protest any kind of public option hilariously and tragically ironic.

    Anyone want to place bets on whether Barton would want THIS protest included in the text books?

    And yes, David Hart makes an excellent point in distinguishing the difference between protest and boycott.

    And Barton wrote (copied and pasted from above):
    Numerous examples show that civil disobedience has played a prominent role in initiating numerous changes throughout American history, including thorough the Boston Tea Party, Shay’s Rebellion, the Underground Railroad, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Rosa Parks at the lunch counter, etc.

    I quote: “thorough the Boston Tea Party…” Thorough? Huh?

  10. The sooner we can overturn these right-wing idiots (and their so-called experts) at the ballot box next fall, the better for the school children of Texas.

  11. Maybe he meant to say “Montgomery Bus Boycott and Rosa Parks at the lunch counter.” A busload of people at the lunch counter . . .

    Shays’ Rebellion was “civil disobedience?” Does Barton even know what it was about?

  12. Is this the same David Barton who wrote The Myth of Seperation? In that book he called, seperation of church and state ‘absurd’.

  13. See the section of Barton’s report talking about free enterprise (page 7). The real experts, the social studies teachers and professors whose work the Board appears to have rejected, suggested bringing the economic discussion into the 21st century and use “capitalism” instead of “free enterprise.” This would make the Texas curriculum correlate with the studies in the area done by social scientists, especially economists, and more accurately and precisely describe the system.

    That is one reason given for rejecting their work, that the Board doesn’t want to mention capitalism. They don’t want to call capitalism by the name economists use.

    But look at Barton’s suggestion. He veers off on a tangent about ethics in capitalism — I would venture that Barton never took any economics courses he can remember, and he’s never read Adam Smith, judging from the nature of his complaint (ethics is very much a discussion in economics). But it just gets weird. He refers to a paper, without citation, by a “Jewish economist” in the “Pacific Northwest.”

    Barton doesn’t name the paper. He doesn’t say where it was published, nor offer any other citation by which it might be tracked down. Most creepily, he keeps referring to the “Jewish economist” as if his faith or ethnic background has any relevance, without ever naming the guy.

    That isn’t scholarship. He almost makes a good point, but any valuable point is completely overcome by the bigoted lack of scholarship, the mere convention of naming the author of the paper and offering a citation.

    Expert? No, certainly not in manifestation. That’s just creepy.

  14. David Hart & Ed Darrell are right, neither the Montgomery Bus Boycott nor Shay’s Rebellion are examples of civil disobedience. Neither is the Boston Tea Party. The law they broke (destruction of private property – tea) was not the law they were protesting. This indicates a more serious problem then not understanding what Rosa Parks did. The man wanting to teach our children about civil disobedience has no clue what civil disobedience actually is!

  15. Well done, Mr. Schafersman. And thanks for pointing out Talk2Action, the website that introduced me to Chris Rodda and many others who are working their tails off to keep the wall of separation intact.

  16. I picked up Chris Rodda’s book Liars for Jesus and recommend it for all to show what a liar David Barton is.

  17. Wow, impressive. Out of hundreds of mistakes that David Barton found and corrected you choose to highlight the ONE mistake he made. You aren’t the least bit biased are you?

    1. Barton didn’t find and correct “hundreds of mistakes,” and we identified far more than “one mistake” he made. And we have more info coming on that. Sorry, mistruths might work somewhere else, but you’ll have to tell the truth here.

  18. I guess it’s your word against mine (and his). I’ve seen the list of corrections he made and it numbers in the hundreds. Maybe you should recount?

    1. We’ve seen the list as well, and perhaps you should recheck your math — or at least what you consider a “correction.”